Portrait

Cheers, Vera!

Vera is famous in Berdychiv — she just doesn't look like anyone else. The photographer Ivanka Lishchuk made a photo session featuring this gorgeous lady wearing her usual extravagant outfits and bright makeup.
Ivanka Lishchuk

Photographer, student of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, author of music and photo projects.

– When the quarantine began, I began looking for new ideas; I walked a lot around the city and suddenly saw Pani Vera (“Pani” is the Ukrainian equivalent of Mrs.) I decided that it was imperative to take a picture of her to preserve this memory. For a long time, I could not find her contacts. It turned out that Vera did not have a mobile phone, so I just came to her area, and there we met. She immediately agreed to participate in the photo session, scheduling it for seven in the morning of the next day – before work. In total, we saw each other about fifteen or twenty times; our photo walks eventually turned into a friendly ritual.

Mrs. Vera is very amiable; she is a well-known personality at the market, where she buys her clothes, cosmetics, and jewelry, as well as in the atelier, where she goes to embody the most daring design fantasies. Nowadays, Pani Vera is a nurse, and once she painted propaganda posters.

Every morning she chooses an outfit, does makeup, models a complex and creative hairstyle, using one of her many wigs. Then she gets on a minibus and goes to the other end of the city to her elderly client Lena, whom she looks after, and in the evening, she returns home on the last minibus.

Every morning she chooses an outfit, does makeup, models a complex and creative hairstyle.

She does not speak about her age; once she mentioned that she felt about five or seven years old. She has a son, but they are not very close; he was mainly raised by his grandparents. At each of our meetings, Mrs. Vera always had a gift for me and my friends, be it flowers, chocolates, or 50 hryvnias – “just in case.” Vera loves life very much; she knows about a hundred prayers and believes that they help her stay energetic.

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Translated by Lubov Borshevsky

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